Legislature(1997 - 1998)
04/14/1997 04:10 PM MLV
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS April 14, 1997 4:10 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Beverly Masek, Chair Representative Joe Ryan Representative Pete Kott Representative Eldon Mulder Representative Richard Foster Representative Reggie Joule Representative Irene Nicholia MEMBERS ABSENT All Members Present COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HOUSE BILL NO. 233 "An Act relating to education benefits for members of the Alaska National Guard, Alaska Naval Militia, or Alaska Territorial Guard." - BILL HEARING CANCELLED CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 143(RLS) "An Act relating to education benefits for members of the Alaska National Guard, Alaska Naval Militia, or Alaska Territorial Guard." - MOVED CSSB 143(RLS) OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: SB 143 SHORT TITLE: EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL SPONSOR(S): RULES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/19/97 782 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/19/97 782 (S) STATE AFFAIRS 04/03/97 (S) STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 04/04/97 984 (S) STA RPT 4DP 04/04/97 984 (S) DP: GREEN, DUNCAN, MILLER, WARD 04/04/97 984 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DMVA) 04/07/97 (S) RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 04/09/97 1053 (S) RULES RPT CS 1DP AND CALENDAR 4/9/97 04/09/97 1053 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FN APPLIES (DMVA) 04/09/97 1055 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 04/09/97 1055 (S) RLS CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 04/09/97 1055 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 04/09/97 1055 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 143(RLS) 04/09/97 1055 (S) PASSED Y19 N- A1 04/09/97 1065 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 04/10/97 1053 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/10/97 1053 (H) MLV 04/14/97 (H) MLV AT 4:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER TIM BENINTENDI, Legislative Assistant to Senator Tim Kelly Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 7 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3822 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSSB 143(RLS) CAROL CARROLL, Director Administrative Services Division Department of Military and Veterans Affairs P.O. Box 110900 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0900 Telephone: (907) 465-4730 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSSB 143(RLS) ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 97-3, SIDE A Number 020 CHAIRMAN BEVERLY MASEK called the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Kott, Foster, Joule and Nicholia. Representatives Mulder and Ryan arrived at their respective times of 4:06 p.m. and 4:10 p.m. CSSB 143(RLS) - EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL Number 030 CHAIRMAN MASEK indicated that the committee would consider CSSB 143(RLS), "An Act relating to education benefits for members of the Alaska National Guard, Alaska Naval Militia, or Alaska Territorial Guard." Number 120 TIM BENINTENDI, Legislative Assistant to Senator Tim Kelly came forward to testify on CSSB 143(RLS). This legislation makes changes to the Alaska National Guard Tuition Assistance program. It does not address funding or appropriation levels, just simply policy changes. It would give the Adjutant General broader authority to direct funds within the departmental budget in support of recruitment and retention objectives. CSSB 143(RLS) would allow the Adjutant General to authorize up to 100 percent payment for tuition and required fees at Alaskan institutions where Guard members might receive training and college course work commensurate with the needs and objectives of the Guard. MR. BENINTENDI added that this raises the Adjutant General's authority from 50 percent payment limitations. It would also allow the Adjutant General to prioritize categories of educational benefits in terms of the needs the Guard may have at the time these issues are reviewed. All of these changes are found in Section 3 of the bill. In Section 1, active Guard personnel are identified as the group made eligible for educational assistance in Alaskan facilities. Retirees and Territorial Guard members are now excluded since so few funds are available and because Guard leadership must focus on incentive for recruitment, as well as retention of entry level personnel. MR. BENINTENDI continued that Section 2, provides that recipients of educational benefits be students in good standing in a program or class work undertaken. In Section 5, there were a few unnecessary or outdated references repealed. The committee substitute deleted a sentence found to be outdated and superseded by revisions in the Selected Service Act of 1967, which is the governing federal law dealing with Reserve and National Guard personnel. Federal law is gender neutral. It provides for personnel to avail themselves the educational benefits during their first term of enlistment and not afterward. Removing this language would eliminate the perception of a separate set of criteria for men and women. MR. BENINTENDI summarized that he had reviewed the language change in the Selective Service law with their bill drafter, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Administrative personnel and with their research agency. There has been no opposition. This legislation is to help the leadership in the National Guard to apply educational benefits when and where they feel it is most appropriate under the circumstances. Number 390 CAROL CARROLL, Director, Administrative Services Division, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs came forward to testify on CSSB 134(RLS). The Department fully supports this legislation and they believed it would give the Adjutant General some discretion with very limited funds, in order to direct these funds for recruitment and retention. CHAIRMAN MASEK asked if current Guard members would have to sign up for an additional six years to be eligible for benefits under this statute? Number 480 MS. CARROLL responded that they would not. Usually what the Guard would like to require them to do is to complete their initial training which is about a four to six month period. Then these funds would be directed to members. Individuals already in the Guard would not have to sign up for additional six years, although the Department would want them to stay a certain number of years if education is going to be paid for, but this is not stated in this legislation. This is discretionary. REPRESENTATIVE IRENE NICHOLIA asked that when a person signs up for the Guard how many years are they signing up for after the six month training? Number 540 MS. CARROLL responded, two to three years for the Guard and she wasn't sure what the stipulations were. Number 563 REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD FOSTER moved and asked unanimous consent to move CSSB 143(RLS) out of committee with individual recommendations and accompanying zero fiscal note. Hearing no objections, CSSB 143(RLS) was moved out of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs. ADJOURNMENT Number 575 CHAIRMAN MASEK adjourned the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs meeting at 4:12 p.m.